The text messages we send often reveal an uncomfortable amount of personal information about us. Yet, the iPhone, at least in its default configuration, does very little to keep our conversations private.
If you want to hide sensitive text messages on your iPhone, you must venture in the Settings menu and, depending on how much privacy you desire, even download a privacy-oriented text app from App Store.
So how can you hide texts on the iPhone? Follow along below, and we’ll show you how, and even go over why that might be necessary.
Why should you hide texts on iPhone?
Not everyone with a reason to hide text messages is a criminal mastermind or a cheating partner. Imagine that someone’s birthday is around the corner. You want to throw a huge party for the person, and, naturally, you want the party to be a surprise. Keeping everything in secret is hard enough if you don’t live with the person, but it can be downright impossible if you do.
Something as simple as leaving your smartphone laying display-up on the kitchen table could turn into a small disaster. One revealing text message popping on the screen when the birthday boy/girl is sitting at the table and the surprise is ruined.
While everyone has just one birthday per year, being asked by a colleague, friend, or child if it’s okay to borrow your phone likely happens to you much more often. You probably know how it feels to know that all your private pictures, personal conversations, and potentially embarrassing apps are just a few taps and swipes away from being discovered.
And what if you leave your phone somewhere and someone you don’t know—or maybe even don’t get along with—gets hold of it?
But, at the end of the day, you don’t need any reason to protect your privacy by hiding sensitive text messages. If it makes you feel better to keep personal information hidden, continue reading this article to find out how you can hide text messages on your iPhone.
Texting privacy has gotten better…
At least on recent versions of iOS (at least iOS 11 and up), text message privacy has gotten a lot better. Now, you are shown a text message preview, but it cannot actually be seen until you unlock the phone, whether through Face ID or Touch ID.
Instead, your preview comes up on the phone as “Text Message” or “iMessage,” instead of actually showing you the contents of the message. That said, there are still some things you can do to keep text messages hidden in other ways.
Disable Lock Screen Message Preview
Because Apple wants to make your life easier, they’ve made it so that a popup window appears on the lock screen every time you receive a text message, showing an excerpt and allowing you to send a quick reply by swiping left on the excerpt. Despite how obviously convenient this feature is, it represents a huge privacy risk.
Fortunately, you can easily disable it from the Settings menu:
- Open the Settings app and go to Notifications and then Messages.
- Scroll down and look for the Include section.
- The Include section contains the Show Preview option. By default, this option is turned on. Click on it to turn it off.
- Ask someone to send you a text message, lock your iPhone, and verify that the text message preview feature has been disabled.
If you ever decide that you want to enable it again, all you need to do is turn on the Show Preview option. And as we mentioned earlier, if you’re running iOS 11 or up, this feature actually comes as enabled by default now.
Disable Lock Screen Message Notification
Disabling the text message preview is a great first step, but you can protect your privacy even more by disabling the text message notification altogether:
- Open the settings app and go to Notifications and then Messages.
- Locate the Show on Lock Screen option and click on it to turn it off.
- While you’re at it, you may want to disable the Badge App Icon option as well.
- Disabling the Badge App Icon option removes the small badge that shows the number of unread text messages from the Messages app icon.
Hide Text Messages Inside the Messages App with HiddenConvos
Apple doesn’t provide a native option for hiding text messages inside the Messages app. However, there’s a useful Cydia tweak called HiddenConvos, which allows you to hide any conversation in the Messages app with a simple swipe and tap.
- If you have a Jailbroken iPhone, you can simply launch Cydia and install the HiddenConvos tweak.
- With the tweak installed, open Messages and swipe left on any conversation you want. A new Hide button will appear next to the Delete button.
- Tap on it and the conversation will disappear without being deleted.
- To unhide it, just press Edit and then Unhide All.
Other Apps to Hide Text Messages
We understand that not everyone has a Jailbroken iPhone. As convenient as simple Cydia tweaks as HiddenConvos are, you can improve your privacy even with regular apps from App Store.
CoverMe is a complete privacy solution that includes private texting and calling protected by military-grade encryption algorithms, private file sharing, self-destructing messages, and a feature called Private Vault, which is essentially an impenetrable vault for your personal documents, files, and data.
CoverMe additionally features useful access control settings that can help you protect your phone against intruders and thieves. The app is available for free, but most features require an in-app purchase to be unlocked and some cost a certain amount of credits, which are also available as an in-app purchase.
iDiscrete is one of the most fully featured privacy apps in App Store. Essentially, iDiscrete is a secure storage box where you can place all content that you’d like to keep private. This can include anything from videos to images to texts.
What separates iDiscrete from other similar applications is its patented Touch Sequence Protection security mechanism. When an unauthorized person opens the app, a fake loading screen appears. Only the device owner knows that the app is actually waiting for a password, which can be entered by tapping in the correct places.
Wickr Me is an end-to-end encrypted collaboration platform for teams and enterprises. It allows you to securely delete all messages, videos, and pictures from your device, send self-destructing messages, remove metadata from multimedia content, send encrypted messages to other Wickr Me users, and create groups of up to 10 group members for simple and highly secure team collaboration.
As you can see, there are a lot of excellent ways that you can hide your text messages. If you need to hide text messages within your texting app, one of the three apps above is ideally the way to go.
However, if you just want to hide that text message excerpt that pops-up on your notification pane, that’s easily disabled. And as we mentioned, some iOS versions — iOS 11 and up — even have it turned on by default.